What is a Retirement Village?: Retirement Options in Queensland

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A retirement village is one of many options for seniors living in Queensland. Retirement villages are groups of independent living units, where common facilities and amenities are shared between all residents of the village. These units are an option for people who are still capable of living mostly independently, although in some villages you can purchase support services, including personal care services, for an additional cost.

These villages are not run or funded by the Queensland government. They can be owned by charitable not-for-profit organizations, such as a church or ethnic organization. They may also be run by a commercial operator.

However, just because they are not run by the government does not mean there is no government oversight. In Queensland, the Retirement Villages Act of 1999 regulates retirement villages; the Department of Housing and Public Works is responsible for the administration of this Act. All Queensland retirement villages are inspected regularly to ensure they are in compliance.

Be sure you are buying into a retirement village for the right reasons. Unlike other types of property purchases, purchasing a unit in a retirement village should not be considered an investment or a money-making opportunity. The purchase should be made as a lifestyle choice. Leaving the retirement village may incur significant financial penalties. greyscale photo of woman standing behind woman sitting on chair

This situation is because when you move into a retirement village, you aren’t purchasing the title to the property unit. Instead, you are purchasing the right to live there and the right to make use of the facilities and amenities offered by the village. Generally, the cost of providing the housing and amenities to you exceeds the amount you pay upon moving into the village. At the time when you leave the village, the additional costs are subtracted from the value paid by the next resident of the unit before you receive any compensation for the “sale” of this unit.

As a result of this value loss, the amount you receive when you leave the village will be significantly less than the value of the unit. This is true even if the market value of the living unit has increased during your stay. Bear this in mind when considering a move to a retirement village, and make sure your budget allows for this loss if you should need to move into a facility with a higher level of care.

In addition to the cost of buying the rights to living in the unit, living in a retirement village incurs ongoing fees. These fees pay for services and facilities in the village, as well as ongoing maintenance on your unit; some will be required as a cost of living there, while others, such as personal care services, are optional. If you move out of the unit, you will still have to pay these fees in full for up to 90 days, unless the unit is sold to another resident during that time frame. After that, you will pay a portion of the fees for up to nine months while waiting for the unit to sell.

Moving into a retirement village in Queensland should not be a quick decision. You will need to weigh all available options and consider their costs. Make sure to make an honest assessment of your ability to live independently, how much assistance you will require, and when you might predict you’ll need to move to a facility that offers more care.